New Mexico – Government auditors say about 55,000 immigrants were in federal prison last year.
The Government Accountability Office says that's about a 7 percent increase from 51,000 in 2005.
Federal officials reimbursed local and state governments for jailing about 296,000 immigrants on civil violations and for crimes in 2009, compared to 220,000 in 2003.
The GAO estimates the federal government has spent about $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion from 2005 to 2009 to incarcerate immigrants in federal and local facilities.
The GAO says the number of immigrants arrested and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement had risen 70 percent since 2009.
Immigration, drugs and traffic violations account for half of the arrest offenses.
GAO report: http://1.usa.gov/dO58m6
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.